Wednesday 26 August 2015

Disappointing Beauty Products

As I wrote about my current favourite beauty products last month, I thought I’d tell you about the products that have let me down. While I'm shouting AVOID, AVOID, AVOID, bear in mind that we all have different tastes, skin types, hair types, and so on. Just because something didn’t work for me, doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.

Soap & Glory Supercat Carbon Black Extreme Eyeliner Pen (€8): Soap & Glory say this pen is “foolproof” and they’re not wrong - it’s super easy to use. The felt-tip is sturdy and the colour is a deep, glossy black. The issue I have with it is its longevity. While there are no long-lasting claims on the packaging, I expected this to wear well without primer. That’s not the case. Without primer, this smudges within 3 to 4 hours. Once my primer is on, Supercat lasts all day, but as I don’t have oily eyelids, having to apply primer every time I use this really irks me.

Bourjois Liner Feutre Ultra Black 24H Felt-tip Eyeliner (€8.99): Oh dear. This is the worst eyeliner pen I’ve ever tried. Even with primer, this fades and flakes. You must be thinking at this stage that my primer is useless! Not so. I use the much-lauded Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion. It’s not cheap and I prefer to keep it for nights out. We’re all used to mammoth claims from the beauty industry but this 24 hour declaration from Bourjois is just plain bizarre!
Garnier Ultimate Blends The Revitalising 7-in-1 Dry Shampoo (€4.99): Seven actions? More like no action! This dry shampoo made no difference to my unwashed hair. Not a thing. This was commended when it was first released due to the fact that it doesn’t leave a white cast like traditional dry shampoos, but I think that’s where the problem lies. At least with those products you know they’re absorbing oil. As much as I disliked Garnier Ultimate Blends, it’s nothing compared to the level of loathing I have for Herbal Essences Dry Shampoo. It left my hair in such a sticky mess that I threw it in the bin before I could take a photo of it. I’ll never stray from my darling Batiste again!
Rimmel Brow This Way Brow Styling Gel (€5.49): The only person I can imagine getting on well with this is Chris de Burgh. I’ve been ‘blessed’ with naturally full brows but even this brush is too large for me. Despite wiping excess gel on a tissue (the brush holds a lot of product) and careful application, it’s impossible not to get some gel around your eyebrows. The product itself is quite wet and takes a few minutes to set. What’s more, the deepest shade Dark Brown is more like a chestnut brown. A big thumbs down from me.

Sleek Matte Me Ultra Smooth Matte Lip Cream (€6.49): The description says “this doesn’t cake, flake or dry out”. I’m afraid it does all that and more. Matte lip products are notoriously difficult to wear, so I prepped my lips before application and kept them apart while the cream set. Nonetheless, it wore away quite quickly on the inside of my bottom lip which was really obvious. Reapplication was disastrous with the product balling up into little clumps. When I removed the product, which I couldn’t wait to do, my lips were sore and dehydrated. Admittedly, I’ve never had an easy friendship with matte lipsticks; I think my lips are naturally too dry. I do have one good thing to say about Sleek Matte Me; the colour is very strong and vibrant, but Fandango Purple didn’t suit my skin tone at all.

Lipcote (€4.99): My never-ending quest for long-lasting lipstick brought me to Lipcote. This is a lipstick sealer that has been around for 50 years. While most of the negative reviews online focus on the strong alcohol scent and the fact that it stings on application, my problem with it is that it doesn’t work! Again I followed the instructions to a T, but my lipstick faded within the normal time frame and began to look patchy. One plus - it didn’t feather, but I still couldn’t recommend this.

What products have left you feeling a little “meh”?

Friday 14 August 2015

We Wear Short Shorts

Man, dig that crazy chick

High waisted black shorts have been on my wish list for quite some time now, along with high waisted black jeans. I found both in H&M earlier this summer and I used a gift voucher I received for my birthday to foot the bill. Thank you, Cynthia! I’ve worn the shorts countless times since; almost every time the sun has made an appearance here in Ireland. I adore the retro silhouette they give me, and the stretch fabric is lightweight and comfortable. They're also the perfect companion to crop tops. I picked up this daisy print crop top for a fiver in a closing down sale in Maynooth. The spending ban is still very much in place, but I’m now allowing myself to purchase the odd reduced item, and buy from charity shops too. I've styled these shorts differently on Instagram - have a look!

Shorts - H&M
Top - Catch
Sandals - River Island

Tuesday 21 July 2015

Thrifty Tip: Astonish Fabric Refresher Kicks Febreze Ass

I’m very particular about taking care of my clothes. A lot of money has gone into my wardrobe over the years despite being quite frugal, and a lot of time too. I’ve spent hours carefully purchasing items that make me look and feel good, so it’s essential that I put a bit of effort into extending their lifespan. Over-washing is the quickest way to prematurely age your clothes. Apart from underwear, socks and gym gear, which should be washed after every wear, you don’t need to throw most items in the machine until you’ve worn them two to five times. Wrinkling your nose in disgust?! Of course I'll wash a garment if it smells or is stained (although I spot clean most of my vintage and dry clean only items), but if it can be worn again, I hang it up to allow any creases to fall out and spritz with fabric freshener. I’m never without fabric freshener (and a lint roller!). Febreze is synonymous with the stuff and there’s very few alternatives, but I recently discovered one that’s much cheaper and far superior.

Astonish Fabric Refresher is available in Dunnes Stores, Mace and Eurospar. Astonish is a UK company that produces cruelty-free, vegan-approved cleaning products. I couldn’t get over the price; the Fabric Refresher comes in a huge 750ml bottle for only €1.29. A 500ml bottle of Febreze varies from place to place but it normally retails for over €4. Price and size aside, Astonish outperforms Febreze in scent and longevity. My clothes were instantly revitalised and the lush just-laundered fragrance lasts all day. Save yourself some cash by picking up this excellent product; your laundry load will be lighter, and you’ll be doing your bit for the environment by reducing your water and energy consumption! 

In my quest to preserve my clothes, I’ve also tried Tesco Fabric Freshener which is €1.86 for 500mls. I found it poor at neutralising odours and the scent is quite synthetic.
How do you keep your clothes in good nick?


Sunday 19 July 2015

Sew Seventies

The generous gift of a voucher brought me to the door of an antique and vintage shop in Rathmines recently. The 3rd Policeman’s extensive collection of authentic period clothing is beautifully displayed at the back of the store and I made a beeline for it, but not before stopping to ooh and aah at a mishmash of antique furniture and quirky knickknacks, which included a Victorian tea set, toy airplanes, a 1960s record player, lamps in every size and style imaginable, a stuffed fox, typewriters and a picnic set from the 1950s! I wasn’t distracted for too long as I had clothes on the brain (a spending ban will do that to a girl) and I spent a blissful hour trying on items that spanned the twentieth century. This hand finished 1970s sundress fits like a glove and I adore everything about it – the flared skirt, the pockets, the charming embroidery to the bodice. It will see me into autumn too when I plan to channel Russian beauties Miroslava Duma and Ulyana Sergeenko by pairing it with my thrifted knee high boots and a heavy knitted cape.

Sandals - New Look


Wednesday 8 July 2015

Current Beauty Favourites

1. Max Factor CC Cream in Fair (€14.99): None of my everyday foundations stood a chance when this colour correcting cream entered my life, it’s like Photoshop in a tube! While the coverage is light to medium, it neutralises redness, covers imperfections and softens the appearance of pores and fine lines. The lightweight formula is really hydrating; this is definitely best suited to those with drier complexions.  But the best part? The finish. Max Factor CC Cream imparts a gorgeous, dewy glow. The shade Fair blends seamlessly into my pale visage, another big plus. Application is easy; I use either my fingers or the Real Techniques Stippling Brush, and you only need a tiny amount so the 30ml tube lasts for ages. €15 well spent.

Max Factor CC Cream in 40 Fair

2. Revlon Photoready Powder in Fair/Light (€16.49): When it comes to affordable pressed powders, I know my stuff. I’ve tried them all; from Natural Collection to L’OrĂ©al, and everything in between. However, this one is in a league of its own. Revlon Photoready Powder contains light reflective particles that give skin a natural but luminous finish. If you prefer a matte look, this probably isn’t for you. Nevertheless, it effectively sets foundation and eliminates shine. As it’s so finely milled, it doesn’t look cakey on the skin - a problem with many budget powders. The compact itself is sturdy and contains a mirror and a brush, perfect for touch-ups on the go.

Revlon Photoready Powder in 010 Fair/Light         

3. Soap & Glory Bright Here Bright Now Instant Radiance Energy Boost Balm (€16): Continuing with the glow theme, this balm (it’s more like a lotion really) was a gift from a friend. I apply it after moisturiser and before foundation, and on occasion, on top of my cheekbones after my makeup has set. This delivers a very subtle sheen to the skin without any shimmer. I’ve been really enjoying using this; the minty fragrance is refreshing and I feel it makes me look less fatigued. However, there are more affordable dupes out there such as Botanics All Bright Radiance Balm, which is what I’ll be purchasing when this runs out.

Soap & Glory Bright Here Bright Now Instant Radiance Energy Boost Balm              
4. No7 Precision Lips Pencil in Paprika (€8.75): Orangey-red lipsticks are everywhere this summer but it’s hard to find a liner to match, especially an inexpensive one. This moisturising pencil is the answer to your coral-hued prayers. I love pairing it with Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick in In Love With Ginger.
5. MAC Lip Pencil in Currant (€16.50): This is the product of a Brown Thomas gift card, I wouldn’t normally spend so much money on a lip liner. It is, however, incredibly long-lasting and worth every cent. I was advised to team this with MAC Rebel but I feel Rimmel Glam Plum Fulham is a more suitable mate.
6. Essence Lip Liner in 07 Cute Pink (€1.29): Yes, another lip liner! This creamy pencil is the ultimate my-lips-but-better shade. I like to wear it on its own or with No7 Moisture Drench Lipstick in Pink Hint. I strongly recommend checking out the Essence range of lip liners; they have some gorgeous shades for mere pocket change.
                                From left to right: No7 Paprika, MAC Currant, Essence Cute Pink          

Tuesday 23 June 2015

The Wardrobe Shake-Up #5


I don’t really know how to do casual clothes
                                                          - Oscar de la Renta

Oh I hear you, Oscar. I'm not really a jeans girl but when I do venture out in public wearing them, they’re always paired with heels and a bold lip colour, and in this case, a killer cut-out shirt and a novelty bag! The three year old oversized shirt was a victim of my spending ban. Instead of tossing it aside, I gleefully took the scissors to it and created a brand new top in mere seconds. This super easy DIY doesn’t involve sewing and won’t cost you a cent. Simply cut out the fabric following the seams of the shoulders, button strip and neckline. Denim doesn’t have to be boring, eh?! The peach bag was a birthday present from my lovely friend Fiona last month. I was also lucky enough to receive H&M and Penneys vouchers. Yes, I have new clothes. New! They’ll be featuring in future outfit posts so make sure you stay tuned.

Shirt – DIY

Jeans – ONLY

Bag – Asos (sold out)

Boots – H&M

Saturday 30 May 2015

The Wardrobe Shake-Up #4

While my self-imposed spending ban has been wretched at times, I’ve been really enjoying the challenge of creating new outfits from my existing wardrobe. Clothes I had long forgotten about are now firm favourites, and I’ve given a few pieces a new lease of life by customising them (more on that in my next post). Not only is the ban saving me money but it’s also forced me out of a style rut, my creative juices are flowing! I’ve even found myself planning ‘future’ outfits, like this one. I’ve no idea where I’ll wear this to but I was chuffed when it all came together. I bought the skirt for €6.50 in Oxfam on George’s Street last summer; their vintage section is tiny but delightful. Just look at those pockets! The shoes and necklace were purchased around the same time, and the Bardot crop top was part of my last shopping haul in January.

Skirt – Vintage 1980s from Oxfam Ireland
Crop top – Asos (available here)
Shoes – F&F at Tesco
Necklace – Dunnes Stores